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First Amendment Case a Go!

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December 8, 2008

Good news on the free speech front: Today we learned that our ideological exclusion case on behalf of renowned South African scholar Adam Habib will proceed in court. Judge George O’Toole of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied the government’s motion to dismiss the case, so the case moves forward.

In June, the government argued that it didn’t have to explain or justify its decision to bar Professor Habib from attending speaking events in the United States based on vague national security grounds. The government also argued that the court lacked jurisdiction (the power) to hear the case. But Judge O’Toole agreed with the ACLU that the government has to supply a valid justification for barring Professor Habib because his exclusion harms our clients’ First Amendment rights. Specifically, their right to hear Professor Habib’s ideas and engage him in face-to-face debate (our clients are the American Sociological Association, the American Association of University Professors, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Massachusetts, and the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights – all of whom have invited Professor Habib to speak in the United States).

You can listen to Professor Habib talk about this case in this podcast.

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